The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Color and Darkness Symbol Icon

After his death, Eddie travels through endlessly changing colors in between the phases of heaven. As stated directly during the final pages of the novel, Eddie discovers that these colors represent the ever-changing “emotions of his life.” No one color is more prominent than another, and they are all described in beautiful, specific language. Likewise, Eddie’s emotions are all equally important and add beauty and detail to his experiences in life. Colors also bring Eddie’s memories to life: he remembers the dark brown of Marguerite’s hair, the whiteness of the ribbons she wrapped around bags of taffy on his birthdays, and the blackness of the coal mines where he was held captive during the war. Eddie’s depression and struggle to feel emotion after the war is described as the “darkness.”

Color and Darkness Quotes in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The The Five People You Meet in Heaven quotes below all refer to the symbol of Color and Darkness. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hachette Books edition of The Five People You Meet in Heaven published in 2006.
Chapter 21 Quotes

How can he explain such sadness when she is supposed to make him happy? (…) She looks beautiful wearing the print dress Eddie likes, her hair and lips done up. Eddie feels the need to inhale, as if undeserving of such a moment. He fights the darkness within him. “Leave me alone,” he tells it. “Let me feel this way, I should feel it.”

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Eddie, Marguerite
Related Symbols: Color and Darkness
Page Number: 118-119
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

The old darkness has taken a seat alongside him. He is used to it by now, making room for it the way you make room for a commuter on a crowded bus.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Eddie
Related Symbols: Color and Darkness
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 35 Quotes

He was nothing now, a leaf in the water, and she pulled him gently, through shadow and light, through shades of blue and ivory and lemon and black, and he realized all these colors, all along, were the emotions of his life.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Eddie, Tala
Related Symbols: Color and Darkness
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

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Color and Darkness Symbol Timeline in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the symbol Color and Darkness appears in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...Ruby Pier. They danced to big band music by the ocean, and Eddie remembers the dark color of Marguerite’s hair falling over her shoulder as she waved goodnight. Eddie went home... (full context)
Chapter 3
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Eddie has just died, and he is now floating through a series of vibrant changing colors and peaceful oceanic scenery, remembering his last moments. He wonders if he saved “Amy or... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...he grew up, the Blue Man’s use of the poisonous remedy turned his skin the color blue. He was then considered a freak, and he found himself alone and jobless until... (full context)
Chapter 10
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
...we spend thinking we are alone.” Then the Blue Man’s skin changes back to normal color, and Eddie is pulled into the sky. (full context)
Chapter 13
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...and Four—also seem desperate and malnourished. One day, the “Crazies” force the unit into a dark coalmine. At night, Eddie holds a photo of Marguerite that he keeps crumpled up in... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Another wind picks Eddie up, and he travels again through the colors of heaven. He travels through the stars, landing among the snow-capped mountains. He now feels... (full context)
Chapter 19
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...where he is. Eddie wishes they would leave, as he feels a sense of incredible darkness, but he tries to seem happy to have them. Everyone busies themselves, except for Eddie’s... (full context)
Chapter 21
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...the flaming village in the Philippines, he hears a loud, constant scream. The sense of “darkness” stays with Eddie as he wakes, making him feel detached and unmotivated. He fears explaining... (full context)
Chapter 23
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
...that Eddie isn’t very much fun, even on his birthday. The narrator comments that the darkness from the war still hangs over Eddie. Eddie continues thinking about the accident at Brighton.... (full context)
Chapter 24
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
...and pretty, watching him from a distance. Then she disappears again into a sky the color of jade. (full context)
Chapter 33
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Surrounded by silence and whiteness, Eddie misses Marguerite terribly. He feels nothing, and a long time passes in that empty... (full context)
Chapter 34
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...him a cake, invite over friends, and give him a bag of taffy with a white ribbon. Eddie goes to work and then spends the night alone—it is an ordinary day.... (full context)
Chapter 35
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...shadow in the hut that he saw in the Philippines. All of his nightmares, the darkness he had felt for years—he realizes it came from this, the life he had taken... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
...of his life. Guided by Tala’s hand, Eddie is carried along the current through endless colors. He understands now that all of the colors he has floated and swam through in... (full context)